Trends of Parks + Open Space: Comparison of New York City + Seoul

Urban Planning Thesis

Haejung Yi

Elliott Sclar, advisor

Open green space is a significant feature in urban areas, as it contributes to public health, recreation, amenities and property values through its location, accessibility, proximity and serviceability. This thesis examines the trends of parks and open space in New York City and Seoul, Korea. Through analyzing historic documents and case studies, notions of urban parks in the two cities are shown to have been changing in different streams and motivation from their modern historic backgrounds. As open space is a broad term, this paper will point to mostly urban parks. In this case, the study sites include Central Park, Highline Park and Bryant Park in New York City and Namsan Park, Olympic Park, Han Riverside Park and Cheong Gye Cheon in Seoul.

In New York City since the 18th century, parks have been increasing their function to promote greater participations and to encourage implementing open space. In Seoul, there were several wars and a colonial era that impeded the development of parks but after the 1970s, urban parks started to be form according to their function in the area. Nowadays, these two cities’ patterns of open green space is converging in to green neutral ways and forming ecological cities. This research explained the meanings of parks and open space through how they have formed, functioned and evolved over time in urban areas. Also, it recommended how urban parks are facing the future for a sustainable city.